Qutb Minar




Qutb Minar and arch of the mosque porch, Quwwat al-Islam Mosque Complex, Delhi, in the 1860s. © RIBA Library Photographs Collection

The earliest mosque built by the Delhi Sultans and the tallest brick minaret in the world, the Qutb Minar was built between 1192 and 1368 as a victory tower signifying the start of Muslim rule in India. Monuments such as this were often captured by early British photographers travelling the subcontinent and entranced by its exotic architectural heritage. Samuel Bourne spent only six years in India but, with his partner Charles Shepherd, formed its most successful commercial photographic studio and upon his return to Britain he had taken 2,200 glass plate negatives of the scenes he had encountered.

Article by Justine Sambrook, Curator, Robert Elwall Photographs Collection, British Architectural Library, RIBA

ImageQutb Minar and arch of the mosque porch, Quwwat al-Islam Mosque Complex, in the 1860s.© RIBA Library Photographs Collection